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Fulton Hogan lifted annual profit 6.5 per cent as the privately-held civil construction firm benefited from a growing infrastructure spend across the nation.

Net profit rose to $179.6 million in the 12 months ended June 30 from $168.7m a year earlier, the Christchurch-based company said in a statement.

Revenue rose 8.5 per cent to $3.6 billion while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation climbed 11 per cent to $364.6m. The board declared annual dividends of 64c per share, up from 62c in 2016.

"Our New Zealand regional business benefited from strong economic growth and associated infrastructure spend," the company said.

"Diversification into new portfolios and market sectors contributed to growth in Australian industries."

Fulton Hogan noted a number of "significant business wins" when reporting a 13 pe rcent increase in first-half earnings earlier this year in an increasingly competitive environment.

Construction firms have bemoaned the rapid increase in costs and scarcity of skilled labour in the face of a mammoth pipeline of work, which includes the government's plans to fund $32.5b of infrastructure over the next four years.

The company said its forward order book was strong and it had secured about 65 per cent of budget revenue in 2018.

Fulton Hogan boosted its workforce to more than 7150 across New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific, from about 6300 a year earlier.

However, its total recordable injury frequency rate deteriorated to 5.3 compared to 4.8 a year earlier, and included the death of Selwyn Rewa in Fulton Hogan's Northland team, who was hit by a logging truck at a worksite operating under temporary traffic management.

"This incident is a tragic reminder of the dangers our teams face each day when working in and around live traffic at our many active worksites," chairman Dave Faulkner said.

 

By Paul McBeth
 
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